Chicago, IL - 2008/06/19 - 2008/04/22


This is the epic of my trip to Chicago to visit my online friend Beau who I've been emailing back and forth for something like five years now, but it wasn't until this trip that I actually met in person.

Thursday: Day 1

Right after work (6:00 PM) I loaded up my car and began the fun drive to Chicago. The drive from I-69 to I-94 through Michigan is one I've made many times, so it was kind of dull. However, as I approached Indiana I entered unfamiliar territory and became more interested. Sadly, almost all of Indiana was under construction, but thankfully it was late by now, and traffic was still moving efficiently. There were three tolls from this point to Chicago, and I can't say that I'm fond of them. The drive lasted five hours, but because a crossed a time zone it only four hours passed on the clock.

I arrived at Jay's (a friend of a friend of Beau's) apartment at 11:30 Central time and dropped my bags off and then parked my car in a garage. Beau was still around a half-hour out, so Jay showed me around, and we got to know each other. He's a really nice guy, and also a ju jitsu teacher, certainly the kind of person you want to be friends with. ;-)

It was pretty late when Beau arrived, so we attempted to sleep, but had far too much to talk about to fall asleep right away.

Friday: Day 2

After waking several hours before any reasonable person should wake up (7:00 AM) :-), we got cleaned up and walked into the city looking for breakfast. An interesting aside, since we were in the "gay" district of Chicago's Northside, one week before a pride rally, there was a vast array of homosexuals all around. It was actually quite nice, because as a demographic, gays are much more well behaved than say, college students. However, despite the place crawling with "those people", there were tons of gorgeous women for Beau and I to drool over. Anyway, breakfast was at a place called Clark's, which was okay.

After breakfast we walked to Wrigley Field to see if we could find some cheap scalped tickets for the sold out game. The cheapest we were able to find were $75 each, and even then from some rather shady characters. Beau was the talk of the town because he was wearing a Twins jersey in front of a bunch of White Sox fans. It was very interesting to see the reactions, even though I had no idea what the big deal was.

Not wanting to dump all our money into dubious tickets, we decided to head over to a beach on Lake Michigan and soak up some sun. However, as we were walking to the beach it began to rain. In fact, it rained every day that we were in Chicago, but usually at times when we didn't mind, like during dinner or on the bus rides. A little while later we had lunch at a place called Nookies, which was really nice.

After lunch we went to a shop called Beatnix, which is a cross-dressers paradise. Tons of wigs, large women's clothes, and a basement of retro styles. I found a nice black leather fedora for only $30. We decided to walk downtown for dinner to Ed Debevic's, but the walk was much further than we planned, and we had to skip dinner to get to The Second City in time. Our feet were very much appreciative of finally being able to stop walking. The Second City is a comedy club that has been turning out celebrity comedians for several decades. We saw the show Campaign Supernova and it was hilarious. After the show we took a bus back, got some ice cream, and went to bed.

Saturday: Day 3

Saturday was a more efficient day. We planned everything out ahead of time, and got a lot accomplished. We started with breakfast at Nookies, which was, once again, great. Then we hopped a bus to the museum district and headed to the Field Museum. Though my feet were still killing me from Saturday I still really enjoyed the Field Museum. It was probably my favorite stop there. When we left, we headed to the Shedd Aquarium and visited the fishies. The Shedd wasn't as good as the Seattle Aquarium, but it still had plenty to see.

After all the learnin' we went to lunch at Fogo de Chão which was one of the best meals I've ever had. It's a buffet style dinner with an amazing salad bar full of every veggie you've heard of and several I couldn't recognize. But the best part about the restaurant is that when you want some meat, you're bombarded with tons of different types of wonderful cuts. Each one is prepared perfectly with a taste to die for. I had filet mignon, cordeiro, frango, linguica, parmesan pork, rack of lamb, and a couple other pieces I can't remember. By the end of it, we were both stuffed to the gills, to the point of nausea.

We finished up the evening with two shows at Comedy Sportz, an improv comedy venue. It was a lot of fun, but not quite as funny as The Second City.

Sunday: Day 4

We packed everything up Sunday morning and went to an early lunch at Giordano's to get some fabled Chicago deep dish pizza. It was like trying to eat a cake filled with mozzarella. It was great.

Beau and I parted ways and headed opposite directions out of Chicago. After dumping some more money into lame toll roads I was welcomed back into Michigan with an hour long traffic jam on I-94. Good times. This trip was a lot of fun and Beau was a very nice and intelligent guy.


Beau in front of the Field Museum.

And now me on the steps.

A jackal! Jackal! It's a jackal! It looks like a jackal! Jackal?! Jackal! It's a jackal! Jackal?!

The weasel family, including the wolverine and badger.


 

I forget what it is, but wow, is this thing goofy looking!

A huge blue topaz the size of my fist.

The stained glass window in the gemstone room.

This statue has a topless woman, a boy eating a banana, and two guys cock fighting. It's just dripping with innuendo!


 

Please do not climb on the dinosaurs.

Anybody hear that? It's a, uh... it's an impact tremor is what it is. I'm fairly alarmed here.

Go ahead... touch my bone.

Riding the giant bone!


 

This beautiful wall pays homage to Darwin.

A very packed port on Lake Michigan.

A lizard and a little boy picking his nose.

Keep it away from Steve!


 

A sea cucumber and urchin. Both edible.

I didn't catch their name, but they look like giant aquatic sowbugs.

The frog looked like he was sitting upright.

The downtown Chicago skyline. The Sears Tower is all the way to the left.


 

Standing on the railing outside the Shedd.

Beau holding up a giant hyperbolic mirror statue.

And again. This was really cool. I want one.

My sexy mug.


 

Life